Mercedes has a model for everyone and every niche – small cars, big cars, SUVs, vans, buses, supercars and the Unimog. The Unimog truly defies a complete explanation. No single consumer can comprehend the myriad of capabilities that these machines possess.
The standard U500 Unimog would have been the ultimate vehicle in the movie Dante’s Peak. If you’ve never seen it, the Unimog would have been racing up a mountainside road covered in volcanic ash, saving the family from lava rushing to destroy their house, fording a river on the way back down while using its winch to save a puny National Guard Hummvee – all in a day’s work.
So why would Brabus want to create a version of this car? Brabus has been making the fastest and most prestigious Mercedes vehicles for years and if they are willing to take the Smart car and give it a makeover then the Unimog should also have its moment of glory.
Hit the jump for more details on the Brabus Unimog.
For starters, the exterior proportions of this truck are massive. The huge 455/70 R24 tires help give the Unimog an imposing stance. Brabus has included some body parts to make the vehicle more sleek and sporty – front and rear bumpers, side paneling with air vents, chrome rollover bars, and diamond plate truck bed complete with full size spare. Black is the only color available and a large “Black Edition” decal runs down the side of the bed rails.
When you think of Brabus special edition vehicles things like the CLS Rocket come to mind – fast, powerful, and sinister machines that could run down an empty freeway circa 4 a.m. in complete darkness with just the wail from the exhaust being the only signs of its existence. We suppose if we were blind or could not feel the earthquake like rumble coming from a Brabus Unimog as it drove by than we might not notice it, but this vehicle simply does not create the same feelings as Brabus’ other models. The Unimog is meant for serious jobs in a no frills way. Brabus has managed to dress it up, but now we don’t even want to take it out and get it dirty.
Inside this utilitarian hauler, Brabus has been able to make some better improvements. Leather and Carbon-fiber can be found on nearly every surface including the huge center dash/command center. The tall A and B pillars are covered in alcantara.
Instead of the run of the mill stereo found in the Unimog, Brabus has included a COMAND system from the Mercedes S-class complete with 6.5” screen, CD changer, and a compass feature exclusively for the Unimog. Controls for various other functions including power windows, locks, differential locks, central-tire inflation system, gearshift, and headlights are all found in the console between the front seats. The luxurious massive seats are air suspended comfort shock-cushioning units with full lumbar support. Two independently controlled air conditioning systems, heater, and auxiliary heater control passenger comfort.
The term performance tends to have a different meaning when describing a Unimog. One might be more interested in suspension travel, fording depth, or number of reverse gears – once again Brabus aims to change some of that.
It may not be a 600hp sports car, but the six-cylinder turbo-diesel engine is no slouch. It produces 282hp and an earth moving 826 lb-ft of torque which is enough to propel the nearly 12 ton Unimog above 60mph. An eight-speed gearbox helps the big truck distribute all of its torque to the wheels. The driver can choose to use the more smooth automatic function or the manual mode to shift gears. With all that torque available shifts tend to be rather violent and the truck lurches forward like a semi. The Brabus body-kit has ended up making the truck less useful as far as carrying large loads and the suspension yearns for more weight to be put on it.
Even though Brabus has put on a good show with making this a Unimog fit for a king, they have not taken away its entire off-road prowess. Locking front and rear differentials, high ground clearance, and an advanced four wheel drive system are just the beginning of what makes these vehicles so capable. The differential is mounted at a 20” clearance to the ground allowing the Unimog to go over just about anything. It can also go through anything with an available package that allows the truck to wade through 47-inches of water. When venturing through a distant jungle full of 40-inch plus deep rivers, mud, and debris, the 16 forward low-range gears and 14 reverse gears should keep you out of most sticky situations. The Brabus Unimog is capable of doing whatever it wants, but the driver may think twice – all that shiny Brabus bodywork could end up taking quite a beating out in the wilderness that this vehicle calls home.
If you have $242,138 Euros ($330,445 at the current rates) than you could get your hands on the only one currently for sale through Brabus. For that price one might expect it to be brand new and built to your specifications, but this one actually has 15,600 km on it already. There may be no reason to buy this truck whatsoever, but that may be why it’s so cool. Completely unpractical for anyone in an urban setting, yet we could see ourselves pulling the 40-foot cigarette boat - that we also don’t own - behind it and smiling all the way to the dock.
Lack of Competition
Since the Brabus Unimog Black Series has no real target market, there are basically no competitors. The U500 Unimog is already in a class all its own with far more capability than anyone can handle, thus a Brabus tuned version adds one more dimension to the ultimate off-roading, big rig, hot-rod, Hummvee eating monster that is this vehicle.
Brabus Exclusivity (1 of 5)
800+ lb-ft of Torque
Just Buy a U500 Unimog